Cracking the Code of Love: Dr. Sue Johnson

Couple talking to woman taking notes
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Susan Johnson, Ed.D., is the main founder and developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), one of the most empirically backed forms of couples therapy. Dr. Johnson is an internationally known clinical psychologist, researcher, author, and professor. Sue Johnson was named “the best couples therapist in the world,” by psychologist Dr. John Gottman, another widely respected and well-known relationship expert.

Sue has been studying couples throughout her life, and is a leader and innovator in the field of couples therapy.


Sue Johnson was born in the United Kingdom. She frequently speaks of how she spent a lot of time growing up in her parents’ pub, where she was unsurprisingly surrounded by love and how it could go wrong. In her writing, she states that a focal point in her youth was her parents’ marriage, which was not a good one. She became fascinated by relationships.

Sue Johnson holds a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of British Columbia, which she earned in 1984. She began working with couples in graduate school, and found herself struggling with them, yet continually fascinated. With her thesis advisor, Dr. Les Greenberg, they developed Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples.

Research and Books

Sue Johnson has been rigorously studying couples and couples therapy since her days in graduate school.

She has written a number of professional texts for psychotherapists, including The Practice of Emotionally Focused Therapy: Creating Connection, and Becoming An Emotionally Focused Therapist: The Workbook. She is the author of numerous publications which are listed on the website for The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy.

Largely due to Sue’s work, Emotionally Focused Therapy is one of the most evidence-based approaches to couples therapy that exists. 

In 2008, Johnson wrote her first book that was not academic in nature, but was written for couples, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. This book is frequently listed as a best seller on the Wall Street Journal and on It has been translated into many languages and is popular across the globe. She also created an educational program based on the book, Hold Me Tight, which takes couples through the seven conversations to help them strengthen their relationships. A listing of Hold Me Tight workshops can be found here.

Her second book for the public is titled Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships, and was released on December 31, 2013.

Cracking the Code of Love

Johnson speaks excitedly about a new era in psychology in which a greater understanding of love exists.

"Today, we have cracked the code of love. We now know what a good love relationship looks and feels like. Even better, we can shape it. For the first time, we have a map that can guide us in creating, healing and sustaining love." - Dr. Sue Johnson

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